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5 Reasons Why You Should Screen Yourself for Colorectal Cancer

Approximately 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will be diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is a cancer in the colon or rectum that usually begins as a noncancerous growth called a polyp that can eventually turn cancerous after several years. Luckily, the medical field is now advanced enough to screen for polyps before they become cancerous.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider screening yourself for CRC:

1. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men and women age 50 and older get screened regularly.

CRC is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. In fact, it is expected to cause about 50,000 deaths during 2018. However, many colorectal cancers can potentially be prevented with regular screening. Screening can ensure that polyps are removed before they become cancerous, making them more dangerous and difficult to treat.

2. You may be at higher risk.

Several risk factors can contribute to a person’s chance of developing CRC. There are both lifestyle-related risk factors and risk factors that cannot be avoided.

Some lifestyle-related risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use

Risk factors that cannot be avoided:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Having a personal history of bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancer or an inherited syndrome
  • People with type 2 Diabetes

It’s important to note that although these are proven risk factors, you can still be at risk regardless of whether you have them or not. Additionally, having one or more risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will get CRC.

3. Finding colorectal cancer early could save your life.

The American Cancer Society states that when colorectal cancer is found at an early stage, the five-year relative survival rate is about 90%. However, survival rates are much lower when cancer has spread to other parts of the body - this typically occurs in later stages of the disease process. Because polyps can take over 10 years to turn cancerous, screening can help you catch potentially dangerous cells before they have the chance to spread.

4. At-home screening kits allow you to screen in the comfort of your own home.

Today, CRC screenings are simpler than ever. Several noninvasive screening kits that can be carried out in the comfort of your home are available.

5. March is colorectal cancer awareness month and Mahaska Health Partnership is participating by offering FREE screening kits through the end of March!

Register your information here to have a noninvasive screening kit delivered to your home today:

This test can provide you either peace of mind, or a head start towards beating CRC. Either way, you and your loved ones will be glad you took advantage of this opportunity!

Published Mar 7, 2018

Paul Riggs, MD, FACS

General Surgeon Paul Riggs, MD, FACS, is an experienced, Board Certified Surgeon specializing in traditional, laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgical treatments. Dr. Riggs commonly performs colonoscopies as well as operations on the gallbladder, colon and appendix. Dr. Riggs feels fortunate to serve in southeast Iowa; providing his surgical skills to patients needing treatment throughout the body’s torso, from the esophagus to the spleen.

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